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Recently a question was asked about if it was acceptable to ask a mother on a bus to control her overly-talkative daughter, and if so, how to do so.

A highly-voted answer was flagged as "not an answer".

Technically, I agree that it is not directly answering the OP's question, so I think this is a helpful flag. Someone else commented that it wasn't an answer, and I up-voted that. This is not an issue where I thought the flag was not appropriate; my personal feeling is that the community should feel free to flag early and flag often, as that is a form of community moderation of the site, which is always a good thing.

My question has to do with when an answer only has an implied, therefore indirect answer (even if it is clearly implied): "(It's not acceptable.) This is your problem..."

I'd like to know what your opinion is about how this kind of answer should be handled. If the user had been more wordy and less abrupt, would it still not be an answer?

I have to disclose that I have a dog in this race: my answer before the "Oops!" edit was essentially no different than the answer under discussion, it was only wordier. If I remove the controversial answer, really, the same logic applies to my own answer, which I am perfectly willing to remove for the same reasons (in fact, it's part of the reason I asked this meta question.)

There are also other views to consider: low quality answer, arguing with the premise, rude or offensive (or a custom flag), etc.

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    Note that the help page is fairly straightforward here: "Read the question carefully. What, specifically, is the question asking for? Make sure your answer provides that – or a viable alternative. The answer can be “don’t do that”, but it should also include “try this instead”. Any answer that gets the asker going in the right direction is helpful, but do try to mention any limitations, assumptions or simplifications in your answer. Brevity is acceptable, but fuller explanations are better." from parenting.stackexchange.com/help/how-to-answer – Adam Davis Jun 17 '15 at 16:22
  • Rory Alsop converted it to a comment. Does this signal a policy change that "Don't do that" answers are unwelcome on the site? Note that this then requires a change to the above help text. Perhaps to the following: "Read the question carefully. What, specifically, is the question asking for? Make sure your answer provides that – or a viable alternative. The answer cannot be “don’t do that.”" – Adam Davis Jun 19 '15 at 16:10
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I don't know if I have an answer for all answers, but I could address this one. In has several issues to it that immediately make me feel like it's not a complete offering, and doesn't have enough to be an answer..

  1. It doesn't address the stated problem, and gives only a cursory solution. I think the answer here: What should we advise when one disagrees with the premise of a question?

    Most importantly, it is never appropriate to post an answer that does not directly answer the question asked.

    I suppose you could say there's an implied answer that they don't approach the parents, but I don't think SE is designed for implied answers.

  2. It feels suited for a comment. The portion that suggests an alternative assumes the OP isn't already an expert in handling their sensitivity issues. We also see in comments on OP people suggesting headphones/distractions and asking if the OP has tried them. Instead of probing for further information as those comments do, it simply says "This is the solution".

  3. It fits completely within the comment character length. Short answers are fine, but if they're not actually more constructive than a comment, or any longer, then they should probably be a comment. (I'm not saying to put answers as comments. But if no one would bat an eye with it being in the comments, then it's probably a comment.)

  4. They have no sources or citations, or even personal anecdotal evidence. Nothing builds this up to a credible objective or subjective answer. We're left merely with a strong opinion worded in a possibly inflammatory way.

    the problem is yours and yours alone

  5. It would in no way help me if I were in a similar situation, without the diagnosis. I don't carry earbuds or headphones everywhere. It's not always possible to whip out gadgets to solve your problems. So, if I get into a situation where I'm in a small, enclosed space with children that are incidentally aggravating me, and I've already decided to approach their parents for some relief, then this answer gives me no guidance on that front. (Personally, I can relate to the noise sensitivity directly: I occasionally get severe migraines that make any noise at all unbearable. If I have a migraine, the last things I would want to do are: Put headphones on my head or earbuds in my ears, as the pressure is unbearable, or stare at an electronic screen as my photosensitivity would make that also unbearable.)

    You can contrast this with other answers that tell the OP that approaching the parents isn't likely to be effective (2 by my count, as of now). They explain why it may not get the results they what, or any results at all, and offer a social context for when it is okay to approach someone about such noise issues.


After going over that, I would say an answer needs:

  1. To address the stated problem, or provide clear, supported reasoning as to why it's not the real problem. That's supported here: Is "Don't do it" a valid answer?

I think it's a valid answer, provided that you explain why the OP shouldn't do it (which you did in the question you gave as an example). But I would consider also to answer the actual question, too. As in "Don't do it because of A, B and C. But if you decide to do it anyway, I would follow this approach:..."

I have recieved one or two Don't do it answers on my questions, and I find it very helpful to question my own decisions on how to approach a problem. (It also bruises my ego a tiny bit, but that is outweighted by the benefits).

It has a comment reply that's highly upvoted that says:

agree, it is OK as long as you explain why in a well reasoned way with at least one web citation to back up your position

  1. Provide evidence, expert knowledge or closely-related personal experience that supports the given solution as an answer.

    I don't think we always need "web citations" for our stack, but I agree that we need well-reasoned explanations with something to back them up.


If the user had been more wordy and less abrupt, would it still not be an answer?

I don't think their wordiness is the issue. I just don't think they've provided anything in any way useful to somebody looking for help on this particular problem.

I don't think it would take much to improve it. Even some social context would have elevated this from comment material, in my opinion. If they framed it from the standpoint that their society/culture would generally expect you to just deal with it, then they could have been providing "expert" advice as a lifelong member of said society/culture. Instead, it's just comes across as their own one-off opinion. Such a sentence would not add to the wordiness, nor necessarily reduce the abruptness, but it would at least justify it being an answer.

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    Funnily enough, I started out this answer as a comment. – user11394 Jun 16 '15 at 3:40
  • Good answer! (That comment thing happens to me, too.) Thanks for this. – anongoodnurse Jun 16 '15 at 4:41
  • I believe the user in question could have made a comment (reputation history includes a +100 reputation bonus). – Acire Jun 16 '15 at 11:54
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    Point 3 is unequivocally wrong. Answers should never be posted as comments because they can only be voted up - not down. Users that post controversial answers as comments can get a lot of upvotes and leave an impression of broad support. PLEASE do not encourage this behavior. If it is not an answer, then it should be deleted - not posted as a comment. However, in this case, it is an answer so it should remain where it is and people should vote according to their experience and expertise. – Adam Davis Jun 16 '15 at 14:00
  • @AdamDavis The point is that it's not an answer, but a comment, so it shouldn't be posted as a comment. I don't think the "answer" was "controversial" in any way, but not complete enough to be an answer. – user11394 Jun 16 '15 at 15:59
  • I still remain unconvinced. Your points 1, 5, and 6 point toward it not being a great answer, point 2 gives your opinion on the subjective measurement of "commentness" of a posting, and point 3 is flat out wrong as stated above. None of your arguments demonstrate, objectively, that this isn't an answer to the question and the problem the OP has. At best, it's an unwelcome answer, but it's still an answer. Your only refuge left is hair splitting pedantry which would invalidate a good number of great answers on this site. Shall we start flagging them? – Adam Davis Jun 16 '15 at 16:14
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    @Erica Didn't we have some meta topics about how users with the the +100 cross-site bonus still couldn't leave comments here? I thought there were 2 of them, but it looks like they've been removed. – user11394 Jun 16 '15 at 16:14
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    Here are the relevant meta posts about reputation: the original Meta.Parenting one, and one that was closed as a duplicate. The question wasn't protected at the time; however, protection only prevents answers until a certain reputation level, and comments appear to still be available regardless of protection level (at least that's how I'm reading the meta, I haven't experimented). – Acire Jun 16 '15 at 16:18
  • @AdamDavis We've been repeatedly told to flag any content we think should be flagged, so feel free to do so if you think that's the best course of action. I don't think it's an "unwelcome" answer. There are 2 other answers that essentially say "Don't do it" that both have decent upvotes. – user11394 Jun 16 '15 at 16:19
  • @Erica Thanks, I was definitely misremembering! I knew there was something about cross-site bonus not working on something! – user11394 Jun 16 '15 at 16:59
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I was the source of the upvoted comment, I suspect, and want to clarify my particular stance on that answer, as well as in general.

On that answer, I didn't feel it was "not an answer" explicitly. I didn't flag it, and didn't even downvote it. I think it is a poor answer, and would be better as a comment, because of the lack of providing additional details. Saying "No" but not giving the OP any additional details I don't find very helpful, and hence my suggestions. I didn't intend to suggest it was "Not An Answer", or even a "bad" answer - just not a very good one, because it was too black/white.


As to the question of "When is an answer not an answer", I tend to hold a fairly hard line on the NAA flag. NAA flag should be only for "answers" that literally are not an answer for me. Things that are clearly intended as comments, questions, follow ups, "me too"s. Anything that is an answer to any question is an answer in my book, technically. That's the Stack Exchange model and what I stand by. Not An Answer doesn't mean it is a poor answer or doesn't fully answer the question; it means it's not an attempt at an answer.


As to "what should we do with answers like this", this is probably not the best answer/question to use as a model. The question, as Adam noted, did ask whether this was appropriate - so in that sense this did not explicitly disagree with the premise of the question. It could've been more polite, and certainly should have been more detailed in one way or another, but it didn't argue with the premise in my opinion.

On the general question of "what do we do with answers that argue with the premise", we should comment on them and downvote them. Flagging isn't appropriate, as there isn't anything a moderator can or should do that a non-moderator does. Answers that argue with the premise of the question are poor answers, and downvoting is what you do with poor answers.

The only caveat to that for me is that on questions like this, voting from the community can easily be countered by large numbers of voters from other areas (when it's a 'hot topic'). I think that can be unfortunate, but I think it also doesn't change my opinion - as long as the answer doesn't violate the Be Nice policy, if it argues with the premise it should be downvoted but not otherwise acted on by a moderator.

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    Unfortunately in this case it's being very highly upvoted, and with very little downvotes. I don't see anyone in this meta arguing that it's a good answer, and most suggestions seem to say to downvote it, but instead we're getting a lot of support for it (from here or off-site, I don't know). It's one of those cases where I highly doubt it will "naturally" fall down to the bottom, because our off-site visitors' voting power is stronger than our own communities. – user11394 Jun 17 '15 at 4:02
  • @CreationEdge - As a mod, I want to follow the community's wishes. Hot questions (and their answers) can be a problem. We may not be able to outvote, but we can delete. :) – anongoodnurse Jun 17 '15 at 6:07
  • Thanks, @Joe. This is the feeling I had when I saw the first NAA flag. I think we're up to 4 NAA flags, so the discussion is important. – anongoodnurse Jun 17 '15 at 6:11
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    @AdamDavis To some extent that's disingenuous. To some extent it's not, though, too; that's why this is a relatively complicated question with more than one reasonable point of view. It is not unreasonable to consider the Parenting community to be "the users who post and read Parenting questions on a regular basis" (with some definition thereof), and be concerned about the effect of crowds of StackExchange users who are not part of our Community in a meaningful sense having an outsized impact on certain high-volatility questions. – Joe Jun 17 '15 at 14:23
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    It's also, though, sort of par for the course and some of the exchange we have to accept when we get Hot Posts; in exchange for this, we also see new users (that's how I found out about the site, and likely many of the others here, after all). The other SE users are, and are not, part of our community. It does make it hard to enforce community standards, though, when we're a very small community of very frequent users. – Joe Jun 17 '15 at 14:25
  • That's what we really have to decide: are we going to be one of the SE sites that has hard and fast rules that we enforce through moderator action, or stick with the community voting model. Some sites are very clearly higher-quality sites for going with the former model. Others manage quality through the latter. I don't know which is right for the long-term health of this site. I know that I prefer the community voting model, but I also know that I'm okay with the occasional blip like this. – Joe Jun 17 '15 at 14:27
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    @joe I think the moderators are acting very reasonably in this case, and have deleted my comment as, upon re-reading, it doesn't convey what I intended to convey. You are right that along with everything else being considered, we need to discuss what "community" we are talking about. – Adam Davis Jun 17 '15 at 15:06
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    I would clarify that in my comment I specifically meant the Parenting.SE community. That is, those SE members who have an interest or concern in the long-term viability and quality of this particular stack, rather than those who come here because it happens to also be a SE site. So when we here see a bad/low quality answer that Meta posters seem to all agree is not good, but it's getting so many upvotes, I don't think those visitors from other stacks really have the health of our stack in mind. Would they vote for such low-quality answers on other stacks? (I don't know) – user11394 Jun 17 '15 at 17:54
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That answer rejects the premise of the question - which is already user hostile and should probably be avoided.

But, worse, it is rude and dismissive.

It's not an answer and should be deleted.

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    @AdamDavis - for that contrived example people should downvote the question and consider flagging it. – DanBeale Jun 16 '15 at 19:49
  • @adamdavis that is not what happened with this specific answer. We are only discussing this specific answer despite your desire to steer the conversation with bizarre contrived examples which bear no resemblance to this answer. – DanBeale Jun 17 '15 at 15:24
  • This question is titled, "When is an answer not an answer?" and includes the following questions: "My question has to do with when an answer only has an implied, therefore indirect answer" and "I'd like to know ... how this kind of answer should be handled." so while the problematic answer provides the seed to start the discussion and an example to pick apart, the discussion here is about what policy should we enact. While your answer may be useful for answering the smaller issue - what should we do with this specific answer - it doesn't help the bigger discussion. – Adam Davis Jun 17 '15 at 15:36
  • Given that you've explained your answer isn't intended to provide an opinion on the larger issue, I hereby withdraw my initial comments, and invite you to address the general case. – Adam Davis Jun 17 '15 at 15:37
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My biggest concern with deleting such answers on a site like this is the power that gives question askers to prevent answers they don't like from appearing on questions.

For instance, consider the following question:

My 8 year old arrives home from school about 45 minutes before I get home, and will be alone during that time. While this is legal in my location, I want to avoid nosy neighbors and passers-by from causing problems, and I want to make sure my child knows what to say to anyone, such as the police, who attempt to make contact with her.

What should my child say and do to avoid negative interactions with people, or authorities?

Note that the question isn't about whether leaving a young child home alone is a good parenting practice, however it's reasonable for child care experts to weigh in on the unasked issue.

As a community of parenting experts, we should not shy away from answers that provide a solution, even if that solution is a little further from their question than they intended. If it is a possible resolution to the problem, then it should be welcomed as a reasonable option among a diverse selection of solutions to a problem.

If we choose to delete opposing answers merely because they don't answer the question the way the asker desired, then we not only give the question asker significant power to define the discussion, but that incomplete discussion remains on the site for future visitors as though it were complete, expert advice.

We already have parents here with very strong opinions on various aspects of parenting. Some will use this power to direct the conversation and push their views, flagging answers they don't like for deletion because they don't like them - not because they aren't useful solutions to the question.

Lastly, tying the hands of those volunteering their time answering questions, and preventing them from providing contrary answers may be a good short term strategy to encourage question askers, but isn't a good long term strategy for keeping good answerers around.

The answer under discussion is nice because it really is right on the edge, and has provoked a great discussion. However, I'd really suggest we avoid making such a sweeping policy based on this example alone - I'd like to see examples of other answers where this is a problem, showing that a policy change is needed.

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  • Sometimes expertise is knowing when the wrong question is being asked. – Adam Davis Jun 17 '15 at 15:11
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    A hypothetical answer: "You shouldn't let your child be home alone. An 8-year-old isn't mature enough to handle these situations and something tragic will happen. My advice would be to hire a babysitter for that time." It's answering the unasked issue, but is not answering the asked issue (and has minor issues with tone, opinion-based, etc., but we'll let that slide for now). How does this align with "don't argue with the premise", which is a pretty long-standing policy? – Acire Jun 17 '15 at 15:58
  • I would like to emphatically emphasize that the issue with this answer is not because it went against the OP's question. It has none of the supporting elements of an actual answer. I feel like if I'd asked "I'm trying to do this with Arrays in Java, but I'm having trouble." and someone replied with nothing but "Use ArrayLists" or "Don't use Java, use C++ for this." So you're left without a solution for your particular problem, or a reason why the alternative is even the best alternative. That, to me, is why I flagged NAA, not because of arguing with the premise. – user11394 Jun 17 '15 at 18:04
  • I definitely support those answering to be able to say "You shouldn't try it" or "Don't do it", so long as there's explicit foundational justification for that stance. We want good, complete answers. Additionally, I don't think deletion is the ideal circumstance, but a very heavy "nudge" from the community (or mods if necessary) to improve the answer. – user11394 Jun 17 '15 at 18:07
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    I absolutely believe Erica's example answer is wholly disagreeing with the premise of the question, and should be downvoted and commented on. It argues with the presmise of the question, and that's unacceptable. If the question had explicitly asked "Is this a good idea", it would be fine, but if it solely asks "how do I do X", answers should answer that question and not suggest that X is a bad idea (although they're welcome to mention that suggestion in addition to answering the question, so long as they do it in a non-argumentative way). – Joe Jun 18 '15 at 16:17
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This is hardly a new issue. My own opinion is that when someone asks, "How do I do X?" Sometimes the best answer truly is, "Don't do X."

In this case, the answer provided is most certainly a valid answer. It might not be one some agree with - they should downvote it - but it 1) indicates that the OP shouldn't do what they are asking to do, 2) indicates why the OP shouldn't do it, and 3) provides alternatives. It is brief, which some don't appreciate, but it is clearly an answer to the question asked and should remain an answer.

Below is a quick summary of the reasons a "don't do it" answer is an acceptable answer, followed by quotes from previous discussions of this issue.

Reasons why Don't Do It is a valid answer

  • Voting will generally correctly adjust the visibility of such answers
  • The OP still gets to choose the "accepted answer" and thus which one is on top and/or marked as most useful
  • It helps the questioner consider their problem more carefully
  • It helps highlight questionable practices and gives others the opportunity to not just vote them up, but also vote them down when wrong (comments can't be voted down, so they are not a good place for "Don't do that" answers)
  • Helping the person in need is good, but others will come along later with similar questions that aren't exactly the same and having a comprehensive answer section with a lot of answers, including "don't do that", will not only help the OP, but future visitors. Remember, this is a repository for knowledge and expertise, not just a help forum. Many different points of view are welcome and desired, not just for the OP, but for everyone.
  • "Not an answer" flags should be used for answers which pose a question for the op (ie, comment), or not in any way related to the question, not for answers the OP might not want to see, or others disagree with - the OP and others have voting and accepting votes that will take care of all other kinds of answers

What do we do when a popular answer doesn't seem to directly address the question?

I feel that ... the answer should stay. Typically, voting will correctly adjust visibility of the answer up/down appropriately. The answerer was attempting to answer the question - they were trying to adjust the point of view to show that perhaps the parent was approaching the issue in the wrong way, which is a perfectly valid outlook even if it doesn't solve the question as asked. Evidence (votes) suggests that such an adjustment of viewpoint is a popular opinion on the topic, even if many voters aren't from our (honestly, fairly small) community of active users.

In the end, if the OP decides a different answer is 'better' (which, for all we know, they may not. Perhaps the given answer is eye-opening and does change the OP's mind of how to approach the situation), then they'll mark a different answer as correct. Once they do so, the marked answer will jump to the top regardless of votes. Future readers will see the selected answer first, but if they choose to continue reading they'll see the alternative viewpoint as is always the case.

All in all, the "Not an answer" flag should be used for "answers" that truly don't even attempt to answer the question - they either are spam, pose a question for the OP (should be a comment), or are completely unrelated to the topic at hand.

Is “Don't do it” a valid answer?

I think it's a valid answer, provided that you explain why the OP shouldn't do it (which you did in the question you gave as an example). But I would consider also to answer the actual question, too. As in "Don't do it because of A, B and C. But if you decide to do it anyway, I would follow this approach:..."

I have recieved one or two Don't do it answers on my questions, and I find it very helpful to question my own decisions on how to approach a problem. (It also bruises my ego a tiny bit, but that is outweighted by the benefits).

How to handle questions where “don't do that” is the answer

I think it often is appropriate; I see examples of this all the time. The O.P. may not accept the answer, but other folks very well may vote it up. If it gets voted down, well, then people don't agree with you. But it's worth a try. And someone else who is closer to being on the fence may search, find your answer, and think twice about implementing the questionable practice.

Remember that StackExchange is supposed to be a living repository of questions and good answers. It's actually not all about helping the person who posts the question; it's about helping anybody who ever reads your answer.

Answering a Question Vs. Solving a Problem

In other words, you're wondering if "Don't do it" is a valid answer?

Yes, it can be. Depends on how you approach it. If you explain why it's a bad approach, or how there's a better way, that's perfectly okay.

What to do when an “answer” does not really answer anything?

...what about other people's negative answers? How should we react to them? Well, there are good negative answers and there are bad ones. Bad ones disrespect the asker or the asker's point-of-view, don't justify their answer, or attempt to ram what is an opinion down the asker's throat.

If it's not an answer at all or abusive, then flag it. If the answer is terse and holier-than-thou, then maybe downvote it. If it's negative answer but one that might help the asker, then it's candidate for upvoting. Reinforcement from votes can help the asker come to accept the "bad news" about their current approach. In any case, as long as it is an answer, then judge the answer based on its merits like you would an answer in the positive.

Is 'don't do this' a valid answer to a question looking for input on how to do something?

Yes, if it's a good answer in its own right. It needs to include actual expertise or research or facts saying why not to do something, and ideally suggest an alternative.

Sometimes, askers say what they're trying to do and what they're stuck on, then an answerer tells them to try an entirely different approach. I would view a good "don't do this" answer as in this class of answers.

I'll also note that sometimes these answers can be blunt and snarky. I don't think that's constructive - the OP didn't really learn anything besides the fact that at least one person on the internet thinks she didn't do that, which she probably knew before posting a question. These should be constructively downvoted, with a comment explaining that this could be a good answer if it were educational instead of curt.

On answering the actual question

Should we not give questioners the benefit of the doubt

NO! At least, not always. ...I at least am not going to let an obvious ... issue go unchallenged.

Now, I recognize that not all instances of this issue rise to the level of security problems. For less severe problems it might be better to just let it slide. But even here, I feel that even if the OP knows what they're doing, someone else who reads the question later might not, and it's important to have a well-voted post with the question mentioning that something may not be appropriate most of the time.

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  • So: "If the user had been more wordy and less abrupt" then yes it would be an answer? – Acire Jun 16 '15 at 13:40
  • @Erica As I can tell, the answer 1) indicates it's a poor choice, 2) indicates why it's a poor choice, and 3) offers alternatives. It's a complete answer that fulfills all the suggestions people have given over time when confronted with this issue. There's no need to assume that a short answer isn't an answer - if that's generally true, though, you should suggest that Stack Exchange require longer answers. – Adam Davis Jun 16 '15 at 13:43
  • I am just making sure I understand your point, not starting a fight. – Acire Jun 16 '15 at 13:43
  • Well, I am speaking generally, but I'll add a small point at the top to be more clear. – Adam Davis Jun 16 '15 at 13:44
  • @CreationEdge Are you complaining that the quote isn't useful for this discussion? I've not misrepresented the quotes in any way - they are reasonable statements about the issue that align with my expertise on the matter, and so rather than duplicating or paraphrasing them, I'm simply presenting them. – Adam Davis Jun 16 '15 at 16:34
  • @CreationEdge If you need to assess the highest voted answers for correctness, I suggest you refer to the main entry, which most of the others are closed as duplicates of: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/8891/… where you'll see that the accepted answer is highest voted, well above all the others, and agrees with my points here. Parenting may end up with a different policy, though, so I'm not sure why you're bringing up voting and acceptance here - the relevant bits are the actual thoughts on the matter, not some other community's acceptance of them. – Adam Davis Jun 16 '15 at 16:38
  • I mean that in every other thread you used the top/accepted answer of the discussion. So, without looking closely at that particular thread, it would seem that the quote I mentioned is also the top. However, that particular quote is not, as it has a much larger discussion with a different highly voted answer. – user11394 Jun 16 '15 at 16:39
  • Thanks, yes, I was already using that thread. I actually feel that that top-voted answer supports my stance. That gives me a chuckle! Perception is reality! – user11394 Jun 16 '15 at 16:42
  • @CreationEdge Treb states that 1) it is an answer and 2) he holds himself to a higher standard and adds a "how to" if the OP doesn't take their first advice not to do it. I agree with him - I also try to add a "how to" after my "don't do it", but it's not necessary to be considered an answer. It's a better answer, sure, but it's not something to reject an answer over as you are doing. – Adam Davis Jun 16 '15 at 16:49
  • He states "I think it's a valid answer, provided that you explain why the OP shouldn't do it", which the answer were looking at doesn't do. The higher standard is nice, and we encourage it here as well, but isn't really my primary concern. – user11394 Jun 16 '15 at 16:57
  • @CreationEdge "The children are not at fault for the irritation you experience when they sing. This is what children do." is a reasonable explanation as to why the OP shouldn't bother the parents. Might as well start defending slut shaming as if simply wearing a bikini at the beach causes unwelcome feelings in the viewer - the answer helps the OP understand that this is a normal activity of children on the bus, and the problem is with the OP, not the children. Whether you agree with it or not is your choice, but it's still an answer. – Adam Davis Jun 16 '15 at 17:00
  • That's a total red herring! Where do the children's "fault" come into this? The OP has an issue with the noise, and is asking how to approach the parents. Saying "kids will be kids" is not an explanation as to why he shouldn't approach the parents. Maybe if it said "and so their parents are likely to allow them to continue this behavior, whatever you ask" we'd have a reason there. Every step of the way, this "answer" is incomplete, with thoughts that only lead halfway to addressing the question in any real manner. – user11394 Jun 16 '15 at 17:09
  • Let us continue this discussion in chat. – user11394 Jun 16 '15 at 17:09
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    @AdamDavis - your extreme examples are not helpful and are not conducive to useful discussion. – DanBeale Jun 17 '15 at 14:27
  • @DanBeale I disagree, but appreciate your thoughts. – Adam Davis Jun 17 '15 at 14:31

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